Sustainable spatial planning for windfarms in Greece

Published: 19-01-2021| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/kh3fjww93t.3
Vassiliki Kati,
Christina Kassara


Scientific context Wind energy emerges as the leading RES technology anticipated to cover 25-30% of global electricity demand by 2050 [1]. The Greek State has set an ambitious national goal of achieving 35% of RES in its energy mix by 2030, with the share of wind harnessing rising to 37% of RES (7.05 GW) [2] .This is expected to bring about a conflict terrain of land competition for biodiversity conservation vs windfarm infrastructures. Hereby, we present a sustainable scenario of spatial planning for development projects to maintain the integrity of ecologically sensitive areas and to minimize fragmentation nationwide. Specifically for onshore wind energy investments, it applies as follows: (a) the currently operating windfarms continue to operate for their lifetime all over the country without limitations, (b) the windfarms that have a construction permit are allowed outside the sites of the Natura 2000 network, (c) all other forthcoming windfarm investments (production and evaluation stages) are allowed only in the investment zone, i.e. in the most fragmented zones that lie outside the Natura 2000 network. Description The database consists of five geospatial layers: (a) The investment zone (41.4% of Greek land): it includes the three most fragmented zones (very high, high and medium) according to the Landscape Fragmentation Indicator (2015), of the territory outside the terrestrial part of the Natura 2000. (b) The windfarm-free zone (58.6% of Greek land): it includes the terrestrial part of the Natura 2000 network and the two least fragmented zones (very low and low) outside the network. (c) Windfarm sites (2020): 260 applications of operating windfarms and 1578 applications of windfarms in other permission stages, both onshore and offshore. An application may consist of multiple polygons (1880 polygons in total). (d) The two versions of the Natura 2000 network. The database is linked to the paper (open access): Kati, V., Kassara, C., Vrontisi, Z., Moustakas, A. (2021) The biodiversity-wind energy-land use nexus in a global biodiversit hotspot. Science of the Total Environment. Significance, use, limitations The database can be used: (a) in the Strategic Environmental Planning for Renewable Energy Sources (SEA) and (b) in the spatial planning of other development projects (e.g. energy, transport, tourism). The database serves as a horizontal guideline. It does not replace Environmental Impact Assessments, Appropriate Assessments or wildlife sensitivity maps. The database is intended to be used by all stakeholders involved in the wind energy sector, such as investors, Ministry of Environment & Energy, policymakers, competent authorities, NGOs, and the general public. Funding This work was funded by the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency. References [1] Veers P, et al. (2019) doi: 10.1126/science.aau2027. [2] National Energy and Climate Plan (FEK 4893/Β/31-12-2019)


Steps to reproduce

We used the following open geospatial data (databases): 1. Windfarms applications. Date of access: 10/3/2020 2. Natura 2000 database v.30 for Greece. Date of access: 16/1/2018 3. Landscape Fragmentation Indicator. Date of access: 19/2/2020 4. Greek coastline. Step 1: We used the database of the National Regulatory Authority for Energy [1]. We classified polygons of windfarms and points of the respective wind turbines under one of the four successive permission stages: evaluation, production (with Decision Approving Environmental Terms, DAET, or not), construction and operation. Step 2: We filtered the database. In case of conflicts of overlapping polygons within the evaluation stage: (i) we counted fully overlapping polygons only once, (ii) we excluded the polygons with the lowest power in case of partial overlap. In case of conflicts between applications at the evaluation stage with other stages: (iii) we fully excluded the polygon of the evaluation stage in cases of full overlap, and (iv) we excluded the power corresponding to the wind turbines in the overlapping area, where partial overlap occurred. This filtering exercise excluded 85 applications (24.56GW). Step 3: We estimated the installed power of the filtered windfarm database outside and inside the Natura 2000 network. In case of partial overlap with the Natura 2000 network, for each windfarm polygon we summed the power of the respective wind turbines located outside and inside the network. Step 4: We used databases [2] and [3]. The investment zone is the union of the three most fragmented zones (very high, high and medium) of the area outside the terrestrial Natura 2000 network. The windfarm-free zone is the remaining land. The database of the Natura 2000 (v30) (58,773.266 km2) used in the analysis has been updated by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (v31b) (58,773.251 km2) after the submission of the relevant article for peer-reviewing. The results presented in the relevant paper are not affected when using the new Natura 2000 database (v31b). Furthermore, note that the coastline geospatial file used to clip the Landscape Fragmentation Indicator dataset to Greece ( is not perfectly aligned with the Natura 2000 geospatial files (, thus small deviations may arise, particularly in some insular areas.